'Butt Kapinski'

Deanna Fleysher's clown noir returns to take Austin on a hilarious journey down some mean stweets

Putting the shame in shamus: Deanna Fleysher as Butt Kapinski
Putting the "shame" in shamus: Deanna Fleysher as Butt Kapinski (Photo courtesy of Claudio Fox)

Nobody much likes getting the third degree. But I have to say, when the figure badgering you with questions is a dwarfish detective who pronounces every "r" as a "w" and the light under which you're being interrogated rises up out of the back of his trenchcoat, it's pretty fun.

Butt Kapinski is the moniker of this preposterous private dick, pretty much what you'd get if Raymond Chandler had written Philip Marlowe as Elmer Fudd. This writer had the privilege of being grilled by this goofy gumshoe – along with several other audience members – when Kapinski's creator, Los Angeles writer/performer Deanna Fleysher, brought the character to Austin for a January run at the Institution Theater. In each show, Fleysher improvises a mystery in which every audience member is involved in some way – as victim, as suspect, as witness, as ... cat. Rarely have I seen an entire audience surrender its anxiety over participation in a show and gleefully give themselves over to the play of storytelling as with Butt Kapinski. Fleysher is so comically engaging in the role that everyone gleefully followed her down the wabbit hole onto the mean stweets of a hilariously seedy, knuckleheaded noir city of trampy hookers, cat-obsessed slumlords, and cowwupt cops.

To our delight, Fleysher is back in town for two nights. Fans of noir fiction, good comedy, and great improv, tweat yourselves to the pweasure of meeting Butt Kapinski under the streetlamp permanently affixed to his back.

Butt Kapinski returns Friday & Saturday, July 12-13, 8pm, at the Institution Theater, 3708 Woodbury. For more information, visit www.theinstitutiontheater.com.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More improv comedy
First, Free Comic Book Day, and Then – Ka-Baam!!
First, Free Comic Book Day, and Then – Ka-Baam!!
Comic books and comedy improv go hand in hand, sometimes with repulsor rays

Wayne Alan Brenner, May 2, 2008

More by Robert Faires
Last Bow of an Accidental Critic
Last Bow of an Accidental Critic
Lessons and surprises from a career that shouldn’t have been

Sept. 24, 2021

"Daniel Johnston: I Live My Broken Dreams" Tells the Story of an Artist
The first-ever museum exhibition of Daniel Johnston's work digs deep into the man, the myths

Sept. 17, 2021


Butt Kapinski, improv comedy, Institution Theater, Deanna Fleysher

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle